Earlier this year, Crossway released a bombshell named Kingdom Through Covenant into the playing field of evangelical theological studies. That may be a slight exaggeration, but considering that the Gospel Coalition gathered Darrell Bock (a progressive dispensationalist), Michael Horton (the leading mainstream covenant theologian guru), and Douglas Moo (perhaps a via media between the two) in order to review it, it is a book that is definitely making waves.
Co-authors Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum offered their own response to the 3 reviews, and if you’re paying attention to the blue text, you can click on thru and wade through the discussion yourself. Since I’ve got a review copy thanks to Crossway, I’ll be offering my own thoughts. To that, I thought I’d chart a different course in reviewing the book and incorporate some of the authors’ own theological method into my analysis. There are plenty of straightforward reviews, so I think there is room for creativity on my part.
Gentry is an Old Testament scholar, while Wellum is more of a systematics guy. Because of that, rather than collaborating the whole book through, Wellum authored the opening 3 chapters setting the theological and hermeneutical context. Then, Gentry authored the extensive middle section that covers all the covenants in deep exegetical detail. Finally, Wellum authored the final two chapters that summarize the whole argument for the middle path between dispensationalism and covenant theology.
Review by Quote
What I noticed as I was reading the opening chapters though is that Wellum is extremely fond of summarizing his points with the introductory marker “In this way.” Gentry, in his sections is extremely fond of studying linguistic usage in order to establish the meaning of a text. So, I thought I’d use Gentry’s approach on Wellum’s chapters to give you a list of quotes that capture the gist of Kingdom Through Covenant. Rather than offering a normal review, I thought I’d work through it by quotes.
A “Via Media”
In this way, I thought I could offer more material and direct quotation from a book than a typical review. But in doing that, I’ll offer less analysis of the books contents from a critical point of view. Part of that is because I don’t have a firm enough position myself. I went to “Dispensational U” yet wasn’t entirely convinced and don’t consider myself a dispensationalist (except in maybe an ultra, ultra progressive sense). On the other hand, though I now live within walking distance of Reformed Theological Seminary, I still haven’t converted to full on covenant theology and so don’t quite fit there either. In large part, that’s why I was excited to see Kingdom Through Covenant released and after I’m done really working my way through it may not have much criticism to offer. We’ll see.
Table of Contents
As I fill in quotes, I’ll keep a running list going on here:
- The Backdrop of Kingdom Through Covenant
- Systematic Theology and Worldview
- How People Put The Bible Together
- What’s Progressive About Dispensationalism
- Israel and The Church in Covenant Theology
- The New Testament’s Use of The Old
In the meantime, keep an eye for upcoming posts and you’ll find out how “in this way” Kingdom Through Covenant charts the middle road between dispensationalism and covenant theology!
- Authors: Peter J. Gentry & Stephen J. Wellum
- Title: Kingdom Through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of The Covenants
- Publisher: Crossway (June 30, 2012)
- Hardcover: 848pgs
- Reading Level: Bible School/Seminary
- Audience Appeal: Anyone looking for a coherent via media between covenant theology and dispensationalism